Following a swift prayer and with a wee bit of trepidation, employees and clients of food and facilities management provider Sodexo Ireland took to the skies over Kilkenny on July 23 to do a parachute jump for charity. They all came back to earth safely and scooped over e5,000 for the company’s global Stop Hunger campaign, which benefits the St Vincent de Paul Society and Barnardos charities in Ireland.
Chef manager John Core from Callan is Sodexo’s charity champion and currently based at VHI in Kilkenny. He also persuaded some of his client staff to take part in the parachute jump at Kilkenny Airfield as well as recruiting Sodexo employees based in Galway, Limerick and Kerry.
When John took on the voluntary role of charity champion on September 1 last year, his task was to manage and co-ordinate the company efforts to raise e18,000 in the following 12 months. He threw himself into the role and at the recent event was able to announce that, with a month left to go, the amount raised would be close to e23,000 once all the funds were in, to be split between the two nominated charities.
“I am absolutely delighted with the result and it just wouldn’t have been possible without the really strong support of our managers and staff based in client sites all over Ireland,” he said. “The last 12 months has been hectic but this achievement is a huge source of personal satisfaction for me.”
Laura O’Connor works as an advisor in VHI Kilkenny and is a big supporter of the two charities. She had done a skydive in Australia and jumped at the chance to do one again and raise money for the charities at the same time.
“The most nerve-wracking moment was being up in the plane just as the door opened and I was getting ready to go with the tandem instructor,” she recalled. “When I jumped, the feeling was crazy and it was such an adrenaline rush falling at 120 mph for nearly 5,000ft. Once the parachute opened, a feeling of relief mixed with excitement took over. It was so calm and quiet while we descended on the parachute and the tandem instructor made the jumping and landing so easy.”
Husband and wife team Fiona and Peter Long did the jump as well. Said Fiona, who works in the Treasury Department of VHI: “I don’t think I was too nervous about the actual jump as I was adamant that I was going to do it but I think Peter had a few moments when he wondered how I had roped him into it! In saying that, we both had a great time and really enjoyed the experience. The best part for me was when the parachute opened, it no longer felt like I was falling, just floating… and of course the few spins we done in the air were really exciting. I was worried that the landing might be a bit rough but I have to say it was like tumbling down a hill with no fear like when you were younger. I think I giggled the whole way down!”